A very civil form of dawn arrest greeted city slicker Kweku Adoboli after he lost the UBS investment bank £1.47 billion.
No armed police smashed down his door, as they did for those accused of having stolen items of a billionth of that value after the summer riots in Britain.
Adoboli stands accused of “rogue trading”. But there was nothing rogue about him.
The casino of the financial markets saw a small number of bankers rake in wild fortunes.
When their lucky streak ran out, governments simply showered them with new chips.
Now those governments want to rob the poor to pay back the trillions spent on bank bailouts.
In the US, Barack Obama has announced a “jobs bill” worth $450 billion. He claims it will be a lifeline for the country’s 25 million unemployed.
But it will hardly dent such an astronomical number without work. And Obama has vowed that the plan “won’t add a dime to the deficit”—the money will come from elsewhere.
Obama has proposed increasing some taxes on some of the wealthiest people. Yet he has also made clear that the meagre amount spent on medical care and other services for the poorest will be slashed too.
And the Republicans have already promised to scupper higher taxes for the rich before they are introduced—something Obama knows full well.
In Britain, the Lib Dems used their conference to trumpet plans for mild banking reforms.
But none of these plans will do anything to “heal” the economy. The truth is, our rulers are in a confused panic.
Nothing they do restores the system to health. The banks have received their billions and the poor have had their pay and benefits snatched.
But as we can see most acutely in the eurozone (see pages 8&9), the world economy continues to sink into ever-increasing chaos.
When the rich and powerful are in doubt, they do what they do best—protect their wealth and privilege at our expense.
Coordinated strikes planned for 30 November give our side the chance to stand up to this market mayhem, and demand that people are put before profit.
Forget about one rogue trader. We live under a rogue system.
But together we have the collective power to bring that system down.